I don’t talk about my full-time job much. First, there isn’t a lot interesting there as it’s a pretty standard office/benefits job. Second, I am happy to have the job after searching for a stable full-time job for quite a few years after the Great Recession, no matter how uneventful it is. And third, I simply see it as a way to pay for my life, not my Purpose. The podcast, writing and in some ways, the group home job are my purpose.
However, I only want to work a job where I am helping people, and working in benefits does help people.
This week, I had a day that was disturbing. I started the day by reposting a thing I wrote a year ago about not going out of your way to hurt people, no matter what they have done. It’s a big part of my outlook on life, and is probably the biggest change I made in how I see the world I made in 1999.
I got a call from a women whose estranged spouse had changed their medical coverage for the coming year without telling her. She was being moved to a medical plan with a deductible from an HMO plan with no notice other than a letter stating that she will be dropped from her HMO on 12/31. She called in tears, as she was dealing with her son’s severe health issues and her own health issues, and she didn’t even know if she would have coverage. Once I assured her that she would, she didn’t know how the deductible plan works, was scared about the heavily increased out of pockets costs, not knowing if the doctors who were treating them were with were in the plan and how the change would be happening.
I explained what I could, and got her to a phone person at the new medical plan, who stayed on the phone with her for an hour making sure to get everything set up and squared away. We assisted her in finding community resources to help her with the steep deductibles and other issues resulting from the change, and it all made me feel crushingly depressed.
But one thing that she said sticks. “How could he do this to us?”
There have been a lot of people in my life who have done dirty by me. From the bullies in grade school to the jerks who see everything as a competition, to people who are mad at the world when they cross your path, company weasels who discard you with the promise of a few more dollars of profit, and people who discard you when it works best for them after they have taken all they need from you.
There have been times when I have been in a position to exact revenge, make their lives worse, twist the knife a bit harder, or worse. Since 1999, I haven’t done it. To repay people in kind just means that everyone loses, everyone gets hurt, and the darkness grows a little more around us. It feels like most of the people in the US, at least, as simmering pots of resentment, looking for someone to lash out at.
“Somebody has to pay for this!”
“If we can’t be friends, we must be enemies and I destroy my enemies!”
“The world is laughing at us, but they won’t laugh at us anymore!”
Repaying darkness in kind simply makes the world darker. Revenge doesn’t make you feel any better and while it may be best served cold, it’s not a filling meal.
“How could he do this to us?”
Because he’d been told by society that there must be winners and there must be losers and if you aren’t winning, you’re losing. Because he’s been told that we need to exact revenge against any perceived wrong or you aren’t “strong.”
Because we focus on our differences and disputes rather than what we have in common and our agreements.
I don’t have answers, kittens and kaboodles. I know when I would lash out at people, it was because I was hurt and I wanted someone else to hurt like I did. Thankfully, I have learned that I don’t need to be like that. There may be people out there right now who are planning things to tear me down, throw roadblocks in my path, or whatever rather than simply telling me that I made a mistake and they are angry about it. Or, they have told me that and feel the need to keep attacking. I can’t do a damn thing about that, so I TRY not to worry about it and hope that someday, they will find a measure of peace and joy to replace the hurt and anger.
I’m not a Christmas guy. Too many years of bad holidays, too many times of working on festive occasions and too many years on my own have drained me of that, but I have replaced it by trying to be kind and wishing people joy every day. I know that me seeing Christmas as just another day causes some people discomfort, but I see it as just deciding to do my best for other people every day instead.
Much love to friends old and new and remember, you don’t need a specific date to do good things…or at least refrain from doing hurtful things.